This Conservative ad-spend was almost double the Labour ad spend on Facebook.
They also spent more on digital advertising overall.
The purpose of the ads were not to “persuade” swinging voters.
The Conservative party took a two-pronged approach, says Sam Jeffers of WhoTargetsMe, which analyses online ad-targeting activity. The first was to repeat a simple message to the widest possible audience. To that end the party bought two full-day “takeovers” on YouTube, which meant that anybody visiting the video site or using its app would see the Conservative message. That is the digital equivalent of broadcast advertising.
The second prong was targeted advertising, but along broad categories such as constituency, rather than narrow ones such as interest or income. Many non-Tory voters would have seen its ads.
In the UK, as in almost every country except Australia, getting out the vote by mobilising your “base” is the most effective way to win elections.
Facebook ads of the type run by the Conservative (and by the Brexit Party) aren’t intended to change minds. They’re designed to fire-up Conservative Party supporters and Brexit supporters – and get them to vote.
Meanwhile, progressive Facebook ads were mostly aimed at making persuasion appeals focused on issues, trapped in the marketing-bullshit of Cambridge Analytica micro-targeting hype.
Publicly available data from Facebook’s ad library support these conclusions. On average the Conservatives spent £13.58 for 1,000 views, a common industry measure, on Facebook and Instagram. Labour spent nearly twice as much. “There is a diminishing return because the more layers of targeting you put on the advertising, the more expensive the ad is,” says Benedict Pringle, who runs politicsadvertising.co.uk (via Economist
The scandals impacting Facebook are having little impact on its growth. Axios reports that Facebook’s revenue has grown 25% in the past year – only a tiny fraction of that revenue is from political ads. Most of the revenue is from companies trying to sell things.